Sometimes you just have to stop the car. Pull over, jump the gate and go play in a field of poppies. Charlie didn't want to leave, nor did I. Neither of us had seen poppies on such a scale... such a sea of red. Beautiful, breathtaking and memory making. Heavenly!
A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."
Charlie: His hair is getting so long... he won't let me cut it. Stating that he likes it like this.
Rufus: Enjoying a lamb burger with mint & feta pesto. It was delicious. The first time I've seen him happily eat salad too!
Both of these images were taken at our local annual arts trail. What a weekend. The UK has had some glorious weather, and our neighbourhood never looked so good in the sunshine. People were out having a great time, visiting homes, viewing art, live music, great street food, a real festival feel. Good ole Bristol! I love living here.
Back in early December, I drove out of Bristol to the beautiful Victorian seaside town of Clevedon. To meet the lovely Saunders sisters, my new stockists, at their shop 19 Alexandra Road.
The shop is situated on a beautiful leafy street just up from the old Victorian pier. With views overlooking the park, the shop is a delight. Full of GORGEOUS homewares. Vintage glass bottles, handmade ceramics, prints, vintage books, furniture. It is just perfect!
Becky and Victoria source unique vintage pieces from various local dealers and handmade craft items from local and national artists. The feel of the shop is so welcoming, I had trouble leaving! Wanting to take most of the stock with me.
I did take the large brown bottle above. You might remember it in my Christmas posts, sitting proudly on my mantel. Whilst I was there, I took many shots of the shop and asked Becky and Victoria a little about themselves....
Who are you & what do you do?
We are Victoria and Becky Saunders or Saunders Creative. We have recently opened a new Vintage and Artisan emporium '19' in Clevedon, with our Design studio situated in the back half of the emporium. Saunders Creative produces bespoke vinyl cut designs for commercial projects, commissions and a range of products; which include hand adhered designs for prints and cards, and decals for decorating walls, mirrors & furniture. With both of our creative backgrounds and experience in retail visual merchandising expanding our business to open a shop lend itself well.
What is your inspiration behind opening the shop?
Our new emporium '19' is a mix of all the things we love. We wanted to bring individual pieces together in one collection to showcase our style and share it with others who love an eclectic mix of beautiful items in their homes. The emporium hosts a collection of Vintage and hand crafted interior pieces made by local makers. Situated in Clevedon, an old Victorian seaside town, the emporium couldn’t be in a more suitable place to bring Vintage into the contemporary home of our customers. Since we were very young, we have always had a dream to work together. Now we can pull our experiences and skills into one creative force, the Emporium, 19 and design studio is the result.
How would you describe the feel of your shop?
We wanted 19 to have a gallery / home interior feel so that when you step through the door, you were inspired. Styled displays give the customer a real sense of the pieces in the interior setting they are made for or a reuse. The interior of the emporium is constantly changing as both of us have backgrounds in Visual merchandising. We have a passion for beautiful displays and wanted each individual item to have the space to be admire and see its unique detail. Every item in our emporium comes with a story whether it be Vintage or handmade. We want the emporium to celebrate this.
Tell us some of your favourite pieces /designers you stock?
Becky: A few of my favourites include the ceramics by Hans Borgonjon with beautiful metallic details, 'Misty dew' photography by Sophie Travis, who was a fellow university student and the Vintage rulers.
Victoria: My favourite Vintage pieces are a Worcester vase with fern leaf design and an oversized bell jar, both I have to resisting taking home. We also stock furniture & my favourite piece in store today is an old school desk. I’ve taken home two prints for my walls at home one was a botanical print by Lou Archell & the other a bell jar illustration by Claire Owen.
What do you love most about what you do?
That it combines everything we love doing in to a job. We love styling & merchandising. We love designing our own products & buying Vintage.
Please tell us about your current loves...
Homes / Interiors:
We believe that your home is an extension of yourself. That it reflects your life, loves and personality. A home interior is very personal and showcases the stories and history behind the person. We have slightly different loves.
Victoria: I love faded florals, botantics and Victorian romance.
Becky: I love geometrics and raw materials like concrete but the overall feel is eclectic, full with attention to detail with a mix of old and new!
Becky: I love following blogs, they are great for keeping me inspired. My favourite, at the moment is 'a merry mishap', I love her DIY projects and her home is styled beautifully. She is a mum, blogger, stylist and jewellery maker, wow!.
Victoria: Etc, Creative walls, old classics (the covers are just as beautiful & inspiring as the story), Catherine Batola all super inspiring and add to the displays in my home.
Where are you based and why should we visit?
We are based in Clevedon, North Somerset. Clevedon is the destination for that unexpected day out, here you can walk along the seafront, admiring the views of the restored Victorian pier and of course pop in to our emporium. Where you will find that unique home accessory either Vintage or handcrafted, also you can get a glimpse into our working design studio, which we are trying to keep tidy!!
Thank you ladies! I LOVE your shop. I cannot wait to pop back in a few weeks (when I've saved my pennies), such beautiful things for the home.
I really do suggest if you are passing Clevedon via the M4 or live locally in the South West, to pay this shop a visit, it's worth the trip!
Over the Christmas period I suffered with a heavy head cold, making an appearance on Christmas Eve, and stayed like an unwanted guest for days. Booo! I felt tired, sluggish and in need of some serious me time.
So the day after Boxing Day, my parents thankfully took the boys, so that Dan and I could spend the day at Bristol Lido. YAY! The best present ever, a chance to fully relax and unwind after the stress and overindulgence of the Festive period.
We arrived in the middle of a hail storm, windswept and battered. Greeted with a smile and a promise to make us better again. We were shown the upstairs changing rooms, where we removed our clothes and donned thick soft robes and flip flops before taking a seat to wait for our treatment.
Both Dan and I opted for a back, neck, head & facial (although I don't quite know how a facial is done on Dan with all that hair?). I went into a beautiful, dimly lit and warm room with the sound of the rain lashing down outside. I was treated to a foot scrub and then a full hour of massage. Knots were untangled, face was oiled and then washed smooth with warm towels. I felt new, me, whole again. I even managed to drift off to sleep for a little while.
After our hour, we taken downstairs to the tea room. Colonial in style, part of the original Lido building before the renovation. I was settled into a large armchair, and rugged up to keep warm, with a cup of Jasmine Tea to keep me company. And there I sat, for a good half an hour, with a ridiculously blissed out smile on my face. Content to lay back and dream.
Fully restored, I put on my bathers and faced the winter weather for a swim. Heated to a balmy(!?) 25c the water instantly made me intake a sharp breath, but soon I was swimming up and down in the rain, which felt perfectly wild in the middle of the city in the middle of winter.
Several trips to the steam room and hot tub and back in the pool before my stomach started to rumble. Dan sat in the poolside cafe watching (not brave enough to join me). I could see he was drinking a coffee, I needed one after my pool excursions!
I showered using the Spa's own shampoo and shower gel, smelling divine, I wandered down to the cafe. We ate well on tapas followed by several coffees, neither of us wanting to leave such a special place.
The Bristol Lido is the perfect place to find yourself again. Leave your kids and your worry's at home. Treat yourself to a spa day. Take time to be you.
We will be back....
A few weekends ago, we took part in the Santa Cycle ride from Mshed on the harbourside, along the river to Ashton Court Estate. It was pretty perfect. Sustrans had organised a brilliant family day out. Using one of the many traffic free cycle routes in and around Bristol, we wove our way in our Father Christmas costumes, in glorious December sunshine.
We hadn't been on a family bike ride for months, just a bit busy. But as soon as we set off I remembered how much I love it. Cycling past other people out in the sun, being greeted with smiles at the sight of parents dressed all in red, with billowing beards.
Once at Ashton Court Estate there was a competition, judged by the Mayor, on the best blinged bike. Some of the entrants were awesome! The atmosphere was lovely, choir singing, mulled wine, stalls with games and a chance to meet Father Christmas. The boys received a little backpack filled with bike goodies, a bell, stickers, reflector etc. They were super happy.
The final icing on the Christmas cake was to feed the deers. We all walked over the deer enclosure, and shouted 'come on'. Over the hill ran hundreds of deer. So close we could touch we all stood in awe of these huge beasts as they feed on nuts.
Cycling home we were greeted with smiles again (forgetting I was wearing a full on Santa costume!).
A perfect day out. Thank you Sustrans.
The perfect show for children to see at Christmas must have adventure, humour and a generous dusting of magic and sparkle. The Little Match Girl at The Wardrobe Theatre here in Bristol has just that. We were all immediately captivated with the charm of the wind blowing, the beautiful set and the special magical touches (I won't go into it all, you simply must see for yourself!).
The Little Match Girl has been modernised by a newly formed company called Dot & Ethel (one of which, Harriet de Winton, is a lovely friend of mine). The story tells of a young girl who is eager to find what she is missing as she heads out into the cold in search for her Granny. The hostility of the seasonal shoppers, in search for their next bargain, leaves her lost, alone and frightened until she has a brilliant idea of striking a match. With each strike she is taken out of the cold and into another world.
|Dot & Ethel (aka Harriet and Heidi)|
Simply and cleverly told, that even the youngest of the audience were left spellbound by the magic. I loved the set, papercuts into blinds depicting a series of adventures. Viking long boats, walking boots, snow flakes and windmills. The cast of two were set for an exploration with 'sturdy walking boots with a touch of glam' and Nordic snowflake bobble hats.
|The Wardrobe Theatre (undressed)|
So if you are in need of some Christmas magic, you and your little one will LOVE The Little Match Girl. I came away with a warm glow and slight tear in my eye. Beautiful!!!
For more information please have a look here.
Email for tickets firstname.lastname@example.org
The show runs until Sunday 22nd December - be quick!
Saturday night we joined the rest of Charlie's class to walk in the Lantern Parade. Over the past few weeks I've popped into Charlie's class and helped make willow and tissue paper presents, and a tall Christmas Tree. It has been a wonderful experience. Seeing the spark of imagination, through the processes of weaving the willow, to building the lanterns and finally seeing them all lit and part of a huge community procession.
The atmosphere was magical. My parents joined us and our little family was a party of 6, with Charlie's official lantern and Rufus' homemade version.
Local community groups, local samba bands and schools all came together to walk for an hour through the neighbourhood. We danced, laughed and chatted with friends. It didn't matter that it rained... it was great fun.
Can't wait for next year!
Christmas and a trip to the Theatre go hand in hand. We always go, every year. To me, it is an important part of the Christmas magic. Mulled wine, Christmas markets, a Christmas show and hopefully snow...
Last Thursday evening we were thrown into the depths of the Ocean and went along for the ride with Sinbad the Sailor. Stepping into the Tobacco Factory Theatre, we knew we were in for a treat. A large Shark hung from the ceiling of the stairwell, and in the Theatre bar the walls and ceilings was draped with nets, and fishing buoys. Even the Christmas tree was covered in fishing floats, rather than baubles. The details were wonderful.
Sitting in the newly seated theatre, the set was transformed to a large ship, hammocks hung from the poles, with floats, buoys and nets everywhere. We were sooo excited.
The story involved a cast of 4 sailors, 2 musicians and Sinbad himself. The seven voyages of Sinbad were seemlessly threaded through, and we were soon swept along with the story of it all.
The boys loved the music, the singing and crazy dancing. I love the wedding scene and the lit up umbrellas. It was a tale of bravery, magic, sea monsters and love.
Pitched at 6 years + it was just right. Without patronising the children in any way, certain parts were a little spooky, but the boys LOVED every bit of it.
If you are looking for an alternative to the Panto, then The Last Voyage of Sinbad the Sailor is a must!
Thank you Tobacco Factory Theatre for a wonderful night. It was perfect.
We were gifted tickets to see the performance.
There are really good things about being freelance and having school aged kids. One of those is being able to have lunch time dates with Dan.
We started this Spring, when the weather became warmer. Meeting in the park for a picnic, a simple salad or a baguette and cheese. Enjoying the time to sit, chat, spend time together just the two of us, without the boys. A midday date seems decadent. Babysitters are not needed. We don't need a reason, not a birthday or a celebration which would need a night out. But a simple lunch, just the two of us.
Today, the weather was glorious. We went to the artisan area of Bristol, Christmas Steps. Poked heads around some curious shops and eventually sat and ate tapas at The Urban Wood. Just the ticket on an Autumn day.
We hope to keep our weekly 'dates'.. with Winter coming we are going to have to be a little inventive, picnics in the park might have to be well thought out.
Do you have a weekly date with your love?